THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has expelled its member, Mr Liven Apuleni, for welcoming President Edgar Lungu in Livingstone when the Head of State had gone to the tourist capital for the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) annual general conference.
Former Sinazongwe district commissioner (DC) Apuleni has been expelled from the opposition UPND on account that he was among the people who welcomed PresidentLungu at the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport last week.
Mr Apuleni confirmed to the Daily Nation that he had been expelled from the UPND but said he was surprised because he was not welcoming Edgar Lungu as a person but as the Head of State who deserved the respect of all citizens irrespective of their political association.
Mr Apuleni said the culture of seeing a sitting President as an enemy of the opposition should come to an end, stating that Mr Lungu was a President of all Zambians irrespective of their political affiliation. He said there was nothing wrong with citizens to recognise and welcome President Lungu and that his expulsion from the UPND had just exposed the opposition party’s.
But UPND deputy spokesperson Edwin Lifwekelo said the national management committee had not received a report on the expulsion of Mr Apuleni and that until such a report was made, the party was not going to comment on the matter.
And in a letter to the Livingstone UPND district chairman dated 1st May, 2015, Mr Apuleni said as a citizen, he had the right to receive President Lungu who was a leader of all Zambians.
Mr Apuleni said he did not need the permission of the UPND to go to the airport to receive President Lungu and that he would not stop his gesture of welcoming the President each time he visited Livingstone or any other part of Southern Province.
“The UPND has expelled me from the party for going to Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula Airport to receive President Edgar Lungu when he came for the Law Association of Zambia annual general conference. I must state that I did not need the permission of the UPND to go to the airport to welcome the President.
This culture of seeing a sitting President as the enemy of the opposition should come to end. Mr Lungu is a President of Zambia and citizens irrespective of their political affiliation should recognise and respect him,” Mr Apuleni said.
He told the UPND leadership that it was important for them to inculcate the spirit of love and respect in their members and that politics of hatred were not going to build and develop the country.
He explained that it was political immaturity to assume that if members of the opposition political parties welcomed a sitting Head of State in their region, then they had automatically defected to the ruling party.
Mr Apuleni said he had joined the UPND voluntarily and he had come to the conclusion that the UPND was an intolerant political party and could not therefore continue being a member.